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Design by
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Impact II: Projects & Lesson Plans: Understanding Julius Caesar Through Diaries
Understanding Julius Caesar Through Diaries

HOW IT WORKS
Understanding Julius Caesar Through Diaries allows students to read and understand Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar by getting involved in a project that keep them interested throughout the play. Instead of simply reading the work, students get the chance to become actively involved in it. At the beginning of the unit, the students choose the character that they want to be throughout the duration of the play. They are required to complete diary entries for this character at the end of each act, so in addition to documenting the major action in the play, they also report it from the viewpoint of one of the characters. In order to do this, they must understand how the characters feel, so they learn about characterization (how characters develop throughout the play). After Caesar is killed, they read articles about the assassinations of both John F. Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln. They then write articles of their own to be included in the diary. Students spend about a half hour per week in the computer room, writing their entries. They exercise their creativity by making decisions about layout and choosing different fonts and, to further enhance their diaries, they search the Internet for pictures that are related to how their character is feeling during the act that has just been read. All design elements of the diary must be related to the personalities of the characters they have chosen. 

THE STUDENTS
About 33 students per class participate in the program. They meet three times per week for one hour. All students have had experience with computers and understand how to use Microsoft Word and the World Wide Web, but some are more comfortable than others with design and layout. The program can be adapted for other grades and other Shakespearean plays as well.

THE STAFF
Denise Goldman has been teaching English for four years. She is involved in The New York City Writing Project and a New Visions grant at her school.

WHAT YOU NEED
Teachers need access to a computer lab with Internet access and a class set of Julius Caesar books. In addition, construction paper, glue, and scissors are required so students can construct their diaries. 

OVERALL VALUE
Understanding Julius Caesar Through Diaries allows students to read their first Shakespearean play with ease and enthusiasm. Students are able to understand plot as well as characterization, two concepts that are invaluable for English students. Creating their own diaries holds students responsible for their homework--which will be “published”-- and establishes the need for editing, a concept that is also important for students to understand. The students are always proud of the finished product that is displayed in the classroom or the hallway.

 

View the Curriculum Unit/Dissemination Packet

CURRICULUM AREAS
Language Arts
Art
Technology

GRADES
9

MORE INFORMATION

Denise Goldman
Academy of American Studies
28-01 41st Avenue
Long Island City, NY 11101
Principal
Ellen Sherman
 

IMPACT II 
Catalog 2003-2004

 

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